I’ve said it before and I will say it again – being a columnist is not the easy job so many people think.
It is not like writing a blog, where you the owner of the blog can decide what you write about and there is no print deadline.
You have to come up with something topical to write about every week, in the style of that publication and then get your column (written to word count) in on time. Most importantly you need to develop your own ‘voice’ which readers can relate to and makes them want to read what you have to say week after week.
In the case of Pippa Middleton who was writing in a supplement of The Telegraph, your column also needs to come with a photo idea to go with it – and I am quite sure the editor would have wanted Pippa in that photo herself (so she had that hassle too.)
Hence I do have some sympathy with ‘writer’ Pippa Middleton whose Saturday column, it has been pointed out in the Sunday Mirror, no longer appears.
The fact the last one was in March and the fact I did not notice its disappearance – and it seems no-one else did either – points unfortunately to how unsuccessful it was.
I’m afraid it escapes me, as I write this, to actually recall anything she did write about – although I do like that page for the Vet Pete Wedderburn’s column that also appears next to it – the piece reliably informs the articles were about cycling underwater, flipping pancakes, cooking pasta and investigating whether oysters really are aphrodisiacs.
However, according to the article written by Karen Rockett in The Sunday Mirror, Pippa, who was paid a significant fee for her musings, generally ‘failed to capture reader’s hearts’ and was released from the chore after six months.
The official response from The Telegraph says: ‘The column was great. Pippa is a professional freelance writer and has gone on to do other things for other publications.’
But a source is quoted: ‘It’s fair to say reader reaction to Pippa’s writing wasn’t great. There were also quite a few issues with deciding what topics Pippa should and shouldn’t write about.’
It adds her party-planning book Celebrate reportedly only sold 18,000 copies. Enough said.